The malachite kingfisher (Corythornis cristatus) is a river kingfisher which is widely distributed in Africa south of the Sahara. It is largely resident except for seasonal climate-related movements.

This is a small kingfisher, 13 cm (5.1 in) in length. The general colour of the upper parts of the adult bird is bright metallic blue. The head has a short crest of black and blue feathers, which gives rise to the scientific name. The face, cheeks, and underparts are rufous and white patches are on the throat and rear neck sides.

The bill is black in young birds and reddish-orange in adults; the legs are bright red. Sexes are similar, but juveniles are a duller version of the adult.

This species is common to reeds and aquatic vegetation near slow-moving water or ponds. The flight of the malachite kingfisher is rapid, with the short, rounded wings whirring until they appear a mere blur. It usually flies low over water.

The bird has regular perches or stands from which it fishes. These are usually low over the water. It sits upright, its tail pointed downwards. It drops suddenly with a splash and usually returns at once with a struggling captive.

Large food items are beaten on a bough or rail; small fish and insects are promptly swallowed. A fish is usually lifted and carried by its middle, but its position is changed, sometimes by tossing it into the air, before it is swallowed head downwards. Fish, aquatic insects, and crustaceans are eaten.

The nest is a tunnel in a sandy bank, usually over water. Both birds excavate. Most burrows incline upward before the nesting chamber is reached.

Three or four clutches of three to six round, white eggs are placed on a litter of fish bones and disgorged pellets.

The call of this kingfisher is then a short shrill seek. The breeding song is a chuckling li-cha-cha-chui-chui.

The malachite kingfisher was first described by the German naturalist Peter Simon Pallas in 1764 and given the binomial name Alcedo cristata.

A closely related species in Madagascar, the Madagascar malachite kingfisher, or Malagasy kingfisher, (Corythornis vintsioides), has a black bill and greenish crest, and is not quite as dependent on water as the African species. It is otherwise similar in plumage and behaviour to the more widespread species. Both the São Tomé kingfisher and the Príncipe kingfisher are usually considered subspecies, but are sometimes considered distinct species.
Malachite Kingfisher
Date Location Count
2021-05-08 08:20Gunjur1
2021-05-08 07:30Kartong Wetland4
2021-05-09 11:39Queen Elizabeth II NP--Mweya2
2021-05-15 14:00Queen Elizabeth II NP--Kazinga Channel Boat Trip8
2021-05-08 07:42Kibale NP--Makerere U. Biol. Field Station (Kanyawara) (restricted access)1
2021-05-08 06:30Ruhengeri--general area
2021-05-08 07:35Kibale Forest NP1
2021-04-25 08:18Fazenda Sengha1
2021-05-08 06:47Nyarutarama Lake and Golf Course5
2021-05-16 08:05Inyange Factory Wetland1
2021-05-08 07:30UMUSAMBI VILLAGE - Wetlands and Grey Crowned Crane rehabilitation1
2021-05-05 06:26Nkasa Lupala NP1
2021-05-08 17:38Mabamba Swamp3
2021-05-01 12:10Mabamba Swamp--Main channel
2021-05-08 06:16Entebbe Botanical Garden3
2021-05-08 13:16Lutembe Bay Ramsar Site1
2021-05-08 12:51Lutembe Beach and Wetlands1
2021-05-09 10:19Kafue NP--McBrides Camp1
2021-05-08 07:32Saanane NP1
2021-05-04 12:00Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve--Mbale-Moroto Rd1
2021-05-08 08:49Usengi/Usigu (general)1
2021-05-08 07:28Yala Swamp and Lake Kanyaboli (general)1
2021-05-08 06:24Blue Lagoon NP1
2021-05-07 12:05Lochinvar NP
2021-04-17 14:05Ufinya Dam1
2021-05-08 06:05Nsobe Camp2
2021-05-08 06:00Paga beach1
2021-04-29 06:30Kisumu Waterfront (incl. Ndunga Swamp, Hippo Pt. and Impala Park)1
2021-05-10 11:36Kisumu Sewage Waste Recycling Centre2
2021-05-08 07:16Grumeti Game Reserve
2021-05-02 06:26Mulungushi Dam1
2021-05-09 11:02Maasai Mara NR--Mara Triangle
2021-05-01 06:00Serengeti NP--Seronera1
2021-05-12 09:25Lake Baringo--West Shore (incl. Baringo Club and Robert's Camp and airstrip)3
2021-04-20 06:27Lake Baringo--Tumbili Cliff Lodge3
2021-04-27 07:17St Andrews Turi, KE (-0.279, 35.764)1
2021-04-18 07:48Maasai Mara NR--Siana Springs (formely Cottar's Camp)2
2021-05-08 06:00Royal Zambezi Lodge3
2021-05-13 08:05Lake Bogoria NR1
2021-04-21 06:27Lower Zambezi NP1
2021-05-13 12:30Lake Awassa--United Africa Shebelle Hotel area2
2021-05-14 15:20Lake Ziway--southwestern shore3
2021-05-13 07:24Wondo Genet1
2021-05-14 06:50Hara Langano Lodge3
2021-05-09 16:17Intaka Island1
2021-05-08 00:17Malewa River Lodge1
2021-05-08Kisima Ngeda Tented Camp
2021-05-08 07:25Lake Naivasha--Camp Carnelley's and Fisherman's Camp
2021-05-11 06:23Segera Retreat (Restricted access)1
2021-05-07 16:44Shewa Robit area1
2021-05-01 11:00Helderberg Nature Reserve1
2021-05-08 09:50Manguo Swamp4
2021-04-21 06:09South Luangwa NP
2021-05-08 05:31South Luangwa NP--Mfuwe Lodge
2021-05-08 11:52Ngong Forest Sanctuary (west section)1
2021-05-08 11:21Borana Conservancy1
2021-05-08 08:16Nairobi NP--Nagolomon Dam1
2021-05-14 09:09Nairobi NP2
2021-05-08 07:05Dandora WTP, Ruai1
2021-05-08 09:42Thika Wastewater Treatment Plant1
2021-05-01 09:07Klein River lagoon2
2021-05-09 10:47Mwea NR1
2021-05-08 07:24Lake Duluti1
2021-05-02Amboseli NP3
2021-05-10 12:54Amboseli NP--Ol Tukai Lodge2
2021-05-08 06:52Greystone Nature Preserve1
2021-04-27 07:07Bierspruitdam1
2021-04-26 07:52Pilanesberg NP--Manyane1
2021-05-15 13:46Tsavo West NP--Lake Jipe Safari Camp1
2021-05-15 11:00Tsavo West NP--southern section1
2021-05-08 08:27Dzalanyama Forest Reserve1
2021-05-08 07:50Kgomo-Kgomo1
2021-04-22 06:30Diepsloot Nature Reserve1
2021-05-08 06:24Kwalata Lodge1
2021-05-10 16:30Eagle Canyon Golf Estate2
2021-05-06 10:48Golden Harvest Park1
2021-05-14 08:58President Ridge Bird Sanctuary1
2021-05-08 06:36Rietvlei Nature Reserve2
2021-05-08 15:35Wamba Marsh1
2021-05-08 06:58Marievale Bird Sanctuary--Shelduck Hide2
2021-05-09 10:45Marievale Bird Sanctuary5
2021-05-15 06:04Kruger NP--Banyini Pan (ltd access)3
2021-05-08 15:46Arabuko-Sokoke Forest1
2021-05-08 13:30Msambweni--Mukurumudzi River and Estuary1
2021-04-27 08:50Nguuni Nature Sanctuary3
2021-05-08 16:42Tiwi Beach--Kongo River Estuary1
2021-05-08 13:31Mikimba Swamp1
2021-05-08 06:26Haller Park--Bamburi Nature Trail1
2021-05-08 09:47Lake Chem Chem1
2021-05-14 06:07Kruger NP--Reedbuckvlei (restricted access)2
2021-05-04 17:50Gonarezhou NP--Chipinda Pools1
2021-05-08 06:12Tana Delta--Kalota1
2021-04-30 15:29Liwonde National Park2
2021-04-27 09:06Kruger NP--Transport Dam1
2021-05-08 07:48Klipfontein Bird Sanctuary1
2021-05-08 12:00Karkloof--Conservancy1
2021-05-08 13:49Midmar Dam--South Shore (Thurlow Gate)3
2021-05-08 10:19Albert Falls NR1
2021-05-16 10:33Macaneta-- Wetland, dune forests and coast1
2021-05-15 15:24Umngazi River Bungalows and Spa
2021-05-09 09:20Maputo Elephant Game Reserve1
2021-05-08 09:59Mkhuze GR--Nsumo Pan2
2021-05-07 20:11Durban--Botanical Gardens1
2021-05-08 06:04Pennington--Umdoni Park1
2021-04-29 06:00Phinda GR
2021-05-08 06:03Dunes de Dovela1